- OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine 2 decade-long trends in the use of aspirin and associated outcomes in patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction. BACKGROUND: Aspirin has been shown to be beneficial in the secondary prevention of AMI. However, little is known about changes over time in the use of aspirin in patients hospitalized with AMI and associated outcomes, particularly from a more generalizable population-based perspective. METHODS: We examined trends in aspirin use and hospital and long-term outcomes in 9336 metropolitan Worcester, Mass, residents hospitalized with validated AMI in all area hospitals between 1975 and 1997. RESULTS: Between 1975 and 1986, the hospital use of aspirin remained stable at approximately 20%. Use of aspirin increased markedly after this time from 49% in 1988 to 91% in 1997. Younger age, male sex, and a history of hypertension or stroke were associated with an increased likelihood of receiving aspirin. Patients with diabetes were less likely to receive aspirin than were patients without diabetes. Patients who received aspirin during hospitalization were more likely to receive beta-blockers and coronary interventions. Patients treated with aspirin were significantly less likely to have heart failure or cardiogenic shock develop or to die during hospitalization as compared with patients not treated with aspirin. Patients treated with aspirin had significantly higher survival rates over a 10-year follow-up period. CONCLUSION: The results of this community-wide study show that aspirin use in patients hospitalized with AMI has dramatically increased over time. Despite the beneficial effects associated with the use of aspirin, this therapy remains underused in several high-risk groups.